Calls for New FTC Rules to Limit Businesses’ Data Collection and Stop Data Abuse

Recent acting chair of the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Rebecca Slaughter wants new rules to shift the burden for avoiding data abuse away from consumers and firmly onto businesses.

Slaughter argues that the current model of giving users choice and control over their personal data, while important, isn’t working to stop data privacy and market competition abuse. Instead she wants businesses to stop excessively collecting and abusing consumer data in the first place, including through the use of dark patterns. And she points out the FTC doesn’t have to wait for Congress to act on this matter.

Speaking at the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)’s “Privacy and Antitrust: Integration Not Just Intersection” panel discussion in June, Slaughter said:

“I want to sound a note of caution around approaches that are centered around user control. I think transparency and control are important. I think it is really problematic to put the burden on consumers to work through the markets and the use of data, figure out who has their data, how it’s being used, make decisions … I think you end up with notice fatigue; I think you end up with decision fatigue; you get very abusive manipulation of dark patterns to push people into decisions. 

“So I really worry about a framework that is built at all around the idea of control as the central tenant or the way we solve the problem. I’ll keep coming back to the notion of what instead we need to be focusing on is where is the burden on the firms to limit their collection in the first instance, prohibit their sharing, prohibit abusive use of data and I think that that’s where we need to be focused from a policy perspective.”

New FTC chair, Lina Khan, was sworn in on June 15, 2021, so we’ll watch this space.

In the meantime, we point to our complete privacy toolkit Sudo Platform as a way for businesses to be proactive about limiting the amount of customer data they collect and manage. 

Sudo Platform is a powerful collection of identity protection capabilities delivered as a vast toolkit of easy-to-use APIs and SDKs that make it simple to:

  • quickly integrate identity protection and privacy capabilities into a brand’s new and existing products and services 
  • give users control over their personal data and identity
  • offer next generation privacy tools for communications, browsing, payments and more
  • deliver your customers unprecedented privacy, security, and trust. 

Find out more hereListen to the entire proceedings of the “Privacy and Antitrust: Integration Not Just Intersection” panel here.  

Photo By Chinnapong